Porites Pink Blotch Disease

James M. Cervino cnidaria at earthlink.net
Sat May 8 22:41:38 EDT 1999

Les, Eric: My posting on the coral-list referred to the Porites sp. under
stress as a syndrome, not a disease.  A syndrome indicates the
characterization of a disease.  Although this looks like a disease, it has
not satisfied  Koch's postulates to be called a disease.  This  also
applies to yellow band syndrome of the Caribbean. Although this looks like
a disease, for now I will refer to it as a syndrome until proven otherwise.

Regarding Porites, what I am describing is an additional organism residing
on the coral surface layer NOT a change in host tissue pigmentation. The
pink blotches or ovoid bodies (raised above the coral tissue) is sitting on
the external surface or within the groves of the lesion which can extend 5
to 7 cm long.  These pink blotches that I collected appear  to be a
meshwork of fungal hyphae. These were easily removed with a syringe or
tweezer.  In some severe cases these pink blotches appeared (visual level)
in extending strands, in addition to a SLIGHT pigmentation change around
the rim of the lesion, which is probably a stress response.

I have not been able to tell if the pink organism or shall I say blotch  is
causing the deep depression similar to a ring. Some of these microbes can
degrade/dissolve mineral surfaces (metals, rocks, etc.) by several
different mechanisms.  Microbial induced corrosion or bioerosion has been
investigated by Golubic and colleagues (Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. vol
117:137-147 1995) and have clearly shown that fungal hyphae are common in
coral skeletons as endoliths, this is a start to help us understand the
behavior of micro-flora living within coral tissues as endoliths, however
more research is needed as to what is residing on the CSM during normal and
stressful conditions.

Therefore to clarify my observations;  the  Porites tissue is not turning
pink or exhibiting  a pinkish or purplish discoloration, there is an
un-known resident within the lesion or on the CSM resembling a fungal
hyphae.  This syndrome seems to be more abundant on the inner reefs closer
to shore compared to the outer reefs.

James M. Cervino

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